Getting a computer science degree from a four-year college used to be the only path to a well-paying tech job, but those days are over. Coding bootcamps are now an equally viable option for many jobs.
It seems that the developers understand this, because in the last Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 70% of respondents said they learned to code online, compared to 62% of respondents who learned at a college or university. In the previous year’s survey, only 60% of respondents used e-learning.
And companies have changed their hiring requirements to account for these new teaching methods.
Google, for example, is one of the big companies that removed the requirement that applicants have a four-year degree.
And it’s not just forward-thinking tech companies making the switch; Even the US government has updated its hiring guidelines to become more skill-based.
According to Greg Shields, senior director of IT Ops skills of the development platform Plural viewthis move by the federal government is significant in the move toward moving away from four-year degree requirements.
It sends a really big signal not just to businesses that work with the federal government, but to businesses around the world “that if it’s something that can work for the bureaucracy, it can also work for your organization,” Shields said. .
More and more companies are realizing the benefits of bootcamps or other online training programs, and seeing that they can be just as valuable as a college education, and in some cases, can be better.
A 2021 study from SwitchUp, which provides bootcamp rankings, found that bootcamps offer roughly the same, and sometimes higher, placement rates as computer science degrees from well-known universities.
Four bootcamps in the study have employment rates of at least 80% within a year, which is higher than some of the well-known IT universities. For example, the California Institute of Technology has a 64% employment rate, Stanford University has a 61% employment rate, and MIT has a 56% employment rate.
According to Shields, one of the biggest benefits of bootcamps is their ability to keep up with changing technology. He finds it difficult for universities to keep up. He recalled his own experience in college where some of the courses he took were aimed at teaching technologies that had been outdated for several years.
Dr. Christina Hupy, senior education program manager at GitLab, echoed that sentiment in a episode 2021 from the SD Times podcast, “What the Dev?” She explained that colleges don’t typically teach concepts like DevOps, which means graduates might not be fully prepared for what to expect in the job market.
“I would say that most college graduates who study computer science and learn coding come out of their degree program with a really good understanding of coding fundamentals…And then from there it really varies, but from Generally speaking, we find that the DevOps process itself, and the DevOps steps are not taught.And that includes all the way from the beginning of the planning phase to security and monitoring.This approach and this culture are not specifically taught in universities,” Hupy said.
Shields also pointed out that bootcamps can increase the pool of candidates and attract people who may not have access to the traditional educational path, either financially or simply cannot commit to four years. at school. In fact, the SwitchUp study claimed that, on average, bootcamps cost about 10% of the cost of a computer science degree and could be completed in months rather than years.
He believes that this move towards more skills-based recruitment will be more effective in placing the “right people in the right places”.
Shields also advises companies to have their own development programs to upskill their own employees and keep up with changing technology, so the learning doesn’t stop once someone is hired. According to Shields, setting up one of these programs can be as simple as setting aside time at the company for him.
“At our company, we have a period every two weeks that is just blocked on everyone’s calendars for internal learning,” Shields explained. “And when you have programs like that, it sends a really good signal, a cultural signal, so that people feel comfortable stepping away from day-to-day activities or business and moving from time doing some kind of education or some kind of apprenticeship. It’s probably related to their job, but it might not be something they can apply immediately.
He thinks that even in scenarios where things can’t be applied immediately in practice, there’s almost always something that can be taken out and used to improve a process and become more efficient.